ELLWOOD CITY —
Ellwood City will be the home of something a bit different this weekend.
Lincoln High is staging its annual fall musical.
While most schools perform their big musical in the spring, Lincoln opts for autumn. No one is sure exactly why, but the tradition has endured for more than a decade.
The best part for the students is that for fans of high school musicals, Lincoln’s “Annie Get Your Gun” is the only show around.
Laura Nardone is in her fifth year as part of the five-member directorial staff at Lincoln. She and her four co-directors are responsible for every aspect of making the show happen.
Nardone said the script for “Annie Get Your Gun” was a perfect fit for the students’ talents and strengths.
“We are also very excited,” she said, “because while we have done the classics several times, this is the very first time this show has ever been performed on this stage.”
Nearly 100 students total will participate in the performance. Leading the way is Francesca Nardone, a junior who plays Annie Oakley.
“ ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ is not the kind of show I am used to,” Francesca Nardone said. “I’ve done several newer musicals, but this is a classic American Broadway show.
“With songs like ‘Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better’ and ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business,’ these are just things you don’t find in other shows. That is why this show has endured so long. ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ is just classic Americana.”
Junior Mike Cannistraci plays Buffalo Bill Cody. He explained the commitment the cast has put into getting the show to the stage.
“For over three months, we live, eat and breathe the show,” he said. “Everyone is committed to putting on the best show possible. This may not be Broadway, but we want to bring Broadway quality to Ellwood City.”
Sarah Reese, a senior who plays Winnie Tate concurs.
“Ellwood is such a small town,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of the arts like a big city does. Our goal is to help bring some of that culture to Ellwood.”
For junior Matt Barnes, who plays Frank Butler, it is all about being genuine.
“My character starts out full of himself as the best ‘champeen shooter’ in the land until Annie comes along, then he evolves, mellows out, falls in love,” Barnes said. “He grows, they all do.
“We have to strive to be authentic to that change. Our directors are not willing to accept anything but our best in bringing that growth to the stage.”
Laura Nardone belives the cast has achieved that goal.
“They are a lot of fun, and have a lot of energy, but they are also a very close group,” she said. “That produces a stage with great chemistry for the characters and makes for great fun for the audiences. With great group numbers, lots of energy, lights, excitement and even a real horse, audiences will be very involved in the show.
“They will experience love, competition, special effects and leave feeling fulfilled at the end. It will be everything you could want out of a show.”
Videographer Ashley Hautala has rehearsal
footage and interviews from 'Annie Get Your Gun'
Cast Members ...
Annie Oakley — Francesca Nardone
Frank Butler — Matthew Barnes
Buffalo Bill Cody — Michael Cannistraci
Charlie Davenport — Iain McCormick
Winnie Tate — Sarah Reese
Dolly Tate — Milana Butchelli
Tommy Keeler — Michael Butchelli
Foster Wilson — Patrick Freed
Pawnee Bill — Cory Smith
Jessie Oakley — Alexis Reisinger
Nellie Oakley — Meghan Maine
Bessie Oakley — Marina Thetford
Minnie Oakley — Lori Rectenwald
Little Jackie Oakley — Annie Macom
Running Deer — Emily Winters
Eagle Feather — Katlyn Plotzer
Mrs. Sylvia Potter-Porter — Katlyn Plotzer
Mrs. Schuyler Adams — Autumn James
Messenger — Logan McDonald
Band Leader — Alex Tomak
Mac, the Prop Mistress — Emily Sarver
Sleeping Car Porter, Waitress — Kaitlyn Gebrosky
Marina Thetford, Lori Rectenwald, Sami Young, Miranda Miller, Alena Kucan, Meghan Maine, Alexis Reisinger, Emily Winters, Katlyn Plotzer, Autumn James, Emily Sarver, Kaitlyn Gebrosky
Joey Cortez, Michael Fenechi, Domenic Nocera
Kimberly Clark (captain), Celia DiCarlo (featured), Megan O’Donnell, Abby Konyak, Michaela Spencer, Jasmine Jones, Alyssa Sedgwick, Nichole Miller, Ally Spencer, Victoria Ketterer, Sayge Gatto, Elise Amonette, Samantha Shodd